2010: State of the Sport

From Running USA’s annual report:

U.S. marathons grew nearly 10%; more record finisher highs; ING New York City largest ever

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – (March 28, 2010) – In 2009, U.S. marathons overcame the “gloom and doom” of the recession by posting another year of record participation with 467,000 estimated finishers as well as the largest percent increase (nearly 10%) in more than 25 years. Across the country last year from New York City (left, PhotoRun) to Seattle, marathons most likely either sold-out or had a record field, and to-date, 2010 looks as promising with sold-out marathon fields at Walt Disney World, Chevron Houston, Honda LA, the upcoming 114th Boston and this October’s Bank of America Chicago.

There are several interconnected reasons for this marathon “mania” including: 1) a response to the bad economy (e.g., relieve stress, more time to train for some, etc.), 2) training for and running a marathon is something that one can control unlike the stock market or the economy, 3) positive, feel good energy surrounds marathon preparation and race weekend, 4) well-organized, fun events and 5) the challenge of 26.2 miles – a greater sense of accomplishment for many during bad economic times.

The following tables and lists provide a summary of the demographics and trends for U.S. marathons. It is interesting to note that since 2002, marathon median times have become gradually faster for both genders.

See the stats here!

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